Ottawa Outdoor Club

Overnight and Multi-day Trips

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

The responsibilities of trip leaders for extended trips are basically the same as for day trips except these trips entail more detailed logistical and financial planning.


  • Select a location, find out the cost of accommodation/camping for the weekend, then discuss the trip with the appropriate coordinator, normally before the schedule for that season is issued
  • When a down payment is required, the trip leader may apply to the Club treasurer for an advance. Executive approval is required for amounts exceeding authorized limits
  • Several weeks before your trip, post a sign-up sheet beside your phone. As participants call in to register, remind them of the planning meeting. Use a checklist to inform each registrant of the trip requirements, such as to send you a deposit payable to "OOC", preferences with respect to departure times, planning meeting, whether or not they have a car, etc.
  • Inevitably, there will be cancelations, so if there is more interest than spaces available, keep a waiting list. Trip registration is based on a first-to-contact (such as phone or email), first-served basis; however, you may have to give preference to canoe and/or car owners. Trip registration won't begin until after the trip is publicly advertised in the newsletter or on the website.  For trips with a long lead time as defined by the coordinator, registration typically won't begin until at least two weeks after first publication.  The date of the announcement shall be determined in conjunction with the coordinator.  You should also inform participants that they will only retain their space if a deposit is submitted within a period defined by the trip leader, normally within one or two weeks. Deposits are generally non-refundable and are equivalent to the non-refundable cost of accommodation. (Normally, as a leader, you will have to provide a deposit for accommodation - participant's deposit should be equivalent to your deposit divided by the minimum number of participants you feel are needed to make the trip viable.) The default deposit is $50 and should be collected from participants for weekend trips, even if there are no expenses to be covered ahead of the trip
  • The trip leader should be prepared to discuss in detail any aspect of the planned trip with any member or non-member who calls to request information prior to registering for the trip. The leader should remember to emphasize to prospective participants that failure to turn up for a planning meeting may result in cancellation of their registration with no return of the deposit
  • The trip leader is responsible for keeping an accurate record of all participants who register and pay the trip deposit

Planning Meeting

  • The planning meeting is normally held on the Tuesday evening prior to the weekend activity; however, it may be held at a time and place of the leader's choosing provided this information is clearly indicated in the newsletter or in some manner conveyed to all registrants
  • A well thought-out planning meeting is often crucial to the success of any overnight trip. It is, therefore, the prerogative of the trip leader to refuse to allow anyone who does not attend the planning meeting to participate in the trip. The leader, on the other hand, may use his/her own discretion in allowing proxy representation or some other means of conferencing
  • The leader should describe the trip. If you advertise different levels of activities, e.g., level 2 and level 3 hikes, make sure you have leaders for each level of hike. If you do not have leaders for certain levels, make sure participants are informed so that they can decide if they still want to go. Planning should not be left to the morning of the trip particularly for large groups
  • Remind members that they must ensure that they are physically capable of doing the trip and for bringing the proper equipment. The leader has the right to refuse participation of a member if they are doubtful that the person is capable of doing the trip
  • At the planning meeting, the leader should provide each participant with the following information, wherever possible in written form:
    • Driving directions and/or roadmap of route to start point
    • Planned routes for each day's biking, hiking, skiing or canoeing
    • List of recommended clothing and equipment
  • The leader should oversee planning of:
    • Carpool arrangements: these can at times become quite complicated with groups leaving at different times. The leader should ensure that he/she has an accurate record of who is traveling in which car and the estimated departure time of each car
    • Group equipment sharing arrangements: the leader should make a written record of who is bringing what equipment, e.g., cooking stoves, tents, pots, etc.
    • Collection of borrowed or rented equipment: immediately following the planning meeting, the leader should advise the Equipment Coordinator of any equipment that will be needed for the trip
    • Food purchase, menus, and meal preparation: although individuals or groups should assume responsibility here, the leader should determine special dietary requirements of any participants and provide advice on cost, portability, and nutritional value of foodstuffs. He/she should remind participants to keep receipts for all purchases. (Note: normally, meals are prepared on a group basis and an attempt is made to take into account special dietary requirements; however, in cases where participants have very limiting dietary requirements, e.g., no dairy products, it may be preferable to have that participant bring their own food.)
  • Leaders should remind participants of their obligation to inform the trip leader of any serious medical problem they may have and let the leader know about the medication they have with them
  • The leader should have each registered participant fill in the sign-up sheet and waiver form. If the leader has allowed participants to be absent from the planning meeting, it is his/her responsibility to see that such participants sign the waiver form before the trip departs. It is, furthermore, the responsibility of the leader to choose an emergency contact person and notify him/her of the itinerary, expected return time, and the participants' names and car license plate numbers
  • Ensure all participants sign the trip and waiver form and collect a deposit from each participant if they have not already sent one to you
  • Remind participants to bring cash with which to pay any outstanding amounts

The Trip

  • Leave word with someone (activity coordinator or a friend/family member) of your expected return and route as well as a list of the participants
  • All club equipment used on the trip must be signed out
  • Calculate the costs of the trip by obtaining receipts of food expenses, and using the trip expense sheet. Costs are based on shared expenses and are averaged out so that each participant and leader each pays the same amount less expenses and deposit already paid. Car drivers must also pay for their own transportation. It's a good idea to not leave this task to the last minute when you are tired. Take a few minutes by yourself while on the trip to work out costs if possible
  • When signing participants up for a trip, you must never guarantee a specific cost. The trip cost must be conveyed as approximate. The forecasted cost must be described as a range based on a) the number of participants who sign up and b) an added 'just in case' contingency charge, the amount of which is at the leader's discretion
  • Collect and distribute the necessary amounts from each participant. Do not ask a participant to write a cheque to another participant; a participant may not be comfortable receiving a cheque from a stranger
  • If trip costs are greater than forecasted, any deficit must be made good with all participants contributing

Post-trip Responsibilities

  • Ensure all borrowed equipment is returned to the place of storage in its proper place. Returned equipment must be checked off on the sign-out sheet. Report any damage or loss to the Equipment Coordinator
  • The trip leader must send a financial statement to the Club Treasurer no later than 7 days after the activity. (The trip sign-up sheet should have been left for the Treasurer before the trip). This statement will indicate any advance made by the Club, the amount of fees collected from participants, and incidental expenses incurred by all participants. If the Club is owed money, a personal cheque from the leader should accompany this statement
  • Although not required, it is recommended that the leader write a trip log assessing and grading the trip and detailing problems, recommendations and highlights

Financial Considerations and other Relevant Policies